Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rev. George M. Docherty, Credited With Adding "Under God" to Pledge, Dies

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855-1931), a Baptist minister. But despite what many believe, it wasn't until the year 1954 that the words "Under God" were added to the Pledge.

The has been credited with that addition. Docherty died on Thanksgiving at his home in central Pennsylvania, at the age of 97.

In 1952, Docherty, then pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, gave a sermon in 1952 saying the pledge should acknowledge God, to little effect. However, on Feb. 7, 1954, knowing President Eisenhower was to be in attendance (the church is just blocks from the White House), he gave it again.

Docherty spoke to Eisenhower following the sermon, and the next day, February 8, 1954, Rep. Charles Oakman (R-Mich.), introduced a bill to add the text to the Pledge. A companion bill was later introduced in the Senate.

Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.

Recently several lawsuits have been filed to remove the term from the Pledge, in particular by Michael Newdow, an atheist. He also wants "In God We Trust" removed from U.S. currency (just what we need, more money wasted in the budget).

The original Pledge, as written by Bellamy, even without the inclusion of "Under God," reads somewhat differently that now:
"I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
The current Pledge reads:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Police Search for Tramplers of Wal-Mart Employee

Yesterday, at 5:03 AM in Valley Stream, NY, frenzied shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death in an attempt to get to Black Friday bargains. Police are now hoping security footage will lead them to the guilty parties.

Jdimytai Damour, 34, a temporary worker, was shoved to the ground as he opened the doors and trampled. Co-workers trying to help Damour were also stepped upon. A 28-year-old pregnant woman and at least three other shoppers. They suffered only minor injuries.

An initial report that the woman suffered a miscarriage was incorrect.

Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, a Nassau County police spokesman, said:
"This crowd was out of control." He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security.
The store didn't have enough security. That should be enough to earn Wal-Mart a lawsuit, one might think. More fuel for the lawsuit fire from New York State’s largest grocery union, Local 1500 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, who called the death of Damour “avoidable.” Bruce Both, the union president:
“Where were the safety barriers? Where was security? How did store management not see dangerous numbers of customers barreling down on the store in such an unsafe manner? This is not just tragic; it rises to a level of blatant irresponsibility by Wal-Mart.”
But blame needs to rest on the callous shoulders of the shoppers as well. When told they had to leave because an employee had died, they showed the true face of humanity:
"When they were saying [shoppers] had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since Friday morning!' They kept shopping."
While police are searching through security video, what are the odds of being able to ID faces of individuals? Not good, in that type of crowd.

The crowd apparently became frenzied when the doors did not open exactly at 5 AM, as was advertised.

One would hope the shoppers in that crowd would show some amount of remorse, and guilt, and be haunted by their consciences. Cynic that I am, I doubt it.

Let's hope someone can be IDed, by video or eyewitnesses. Someone should pay for this, and not Damour.

Black Friday Brings Shootings at Toys R' Us

As if it wasn't bad enough that a Wal-Mart employee was trampled earlier on Black Friday, here we have murder. At least the Wal-Mart incident could be considered an accident, though a tragic and barbaric one. Now we have word of shootings in a Toys R' Us in Palm Desert, CA, in Southern California. Palm Desert is about 120 miles east of Los Angeles.

Two are dead as a result of a argument between two "rival groups," according to police. It is unclear if the clash was gang-related.

Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said:
"We have two dead individuals inside the store. The events of why the shots were fired is still ongoing."
Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said:

“I think the obvious question everyone has is who takes loaded weapons into a Toys R Us? I doubt it was the casual holiday shopper. We have two dead individuals inside the store. The events of why the shots were fired is still ongoing."

Salvation Army Bells Create Discord

It's that time of year. Yes, besides the sales and crowds at the malls, there are the familiar Salvation Army bell ringers, clanging their bells to get people to donations. Except perhaps at Valley Mall in Hagerstown, MD, where mall vendors complained about that the bells were too loud.

According to Maj. Robert Lyle, the local commander:
"The mall suggested we put a paper clip or something lighter in there so it's not the constant clanging."
That's what the Salvation Army did, at least for the indoor bell ringers. They replaced the clappers inside the bells with large paper clips. Clink, clink, anyone?

According to the Salvation Army's website, the bell-ringing tradition began in 1891 in San Francisco. Valley Mall isn't the only grinch in the U.S.; Target has banned the Salvation Army since 2004, citing a no-solicitation policy.

Mall Marketing Director Brian Kaltenbaugh said complaints came mainly from kiosk- and cart-based businesses in area near the bell ringers. He added:
"From the merchants' standpoint, we're here to do business. So I think the decision was made from the Salvation Army's part to kind of strike a compromise so we still have the presence of the Salvation Army."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled in Black Friday Stampede

It's something you imagine on a TV comedy series, with non-dire consequences: a rush for a sale where an employee gets knocked down and trampled. But this was real-life, and resulted in a real death.

A worker at a Wal-Mart in New York City’s Long Island suburbs was killed when a crowd of shoppers stampeded for Black Friday bargains, knocking him down and trampling him to death.

Besides the unnamed employee, at least four others were injured at the Valley Stream, NY store: a 28-year-old pregnant woman and at least three other shoppers. They suffered only minor injuries.

An initial report that the woman suffered a miscarriage was incorrect.

Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker of the employee said:
"He was bum-rushed by 200 people. They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."
In a statement, Wal-Mart called the incident a tragedy, saying:
"The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority."
Customers, maybe. Associates, not so sure, based on how Wal-Mart treats them.

While no one will be prosecuted for this, I can see a possible lawsuit against Wal-Mart. After all, it appears the crowd (above) was out of control. Why no security guards? They should have controlled it.

Wal-Mart is huge; if they are sued, I won't shed a tear for them, but I will for this employee.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Frying Your Turkey? Use Caution

Frying Thanksgiving turkeys in hot oil has become quite the rage in recent years, as an alternative approach to the traditional oven method. That said, there are quite a few safety precautions to follow when frying a turkey, many of them common-sense.

Quite a few fire departments around the country want to make sure you are aware of just what you should --- and should not --- do, as well as the risks involved, when frying your turkey. To be honest, many say "just don't do it."

One problem alone is that the deep-frying cooking process requires up to five gallons of oil to be heated to high temperatures before lowering the turkey into the fryer, which can displace oil in the container spilling it onto the burner --- that's probably the #1 problem.

Risks, from the Reno FD:
  • Many fryers have a risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling scalding hot oil that can lead to fires and burns.
  • Some units do not have automatic thermostat controls to regulate the temperature of the oil which can result in the oil heating to the point of boiling over and catching fire.
  • The sides, lids and handles can get extremely hot and may cause burns.
Tips, from the LAPD:
  • The turkey should always be completely thawed before cooking, because a frozen turkey lowered into boiling oil --- well, think what happens when you put something frozen into a frying pan, and magnify that.
  • Many fryers do not have thermostats and can easily overheat causing the cooking oil to combust.
  • Fry outdoors, for safety
Anyone ever hear of Underwriters Laboratories, and the UL safety list for products? There are no fryers that have a UL listing. John Drengenberg, the company’s consumer affairs manager in North Brook, Illinois, told the LA Times:
There is no turkey fryer that carries a UL mark on it. The products have improved over the years, but they have not advanced to the point where we feel comfortable authorizing the use of our mark.”
The LAFD also warns that:
You can never recover from a hot oil burn. It melts the skin. A child or adult who is burned with hot oil will be disfigured for life – or suffer a fatal injury.”
This doesn't mean fried turkey is out. Many love it. It just means you need to take care, especially if you've never done it before. There is a safety video as well. Watch it here:



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Melamine Found in U.S. Baby Formula

Anyone remember the melamine in Chinese baby formula, which has resulted in the deaths of at least three babies as well as making at least 50,000 others ill in China?

Well, the FDA has found traces of melamine in samples of top-selling U.S. infant formula.

Just last month the FDA said it was unable to identify a safe melamine exposure level for infants, yet they are stating parents should not stop using formula. Is this because of corporate pressure, or because some parents simply must use formula, and the FDA does not want to panic them?

The AP uncovered previously undisclosed test results through the Freedom of Information Act.
... the FDA has detected melamine in a sample of one popular formula and the presence of cyanuric acid, a chemical relative of melamine, in the formula of a second manufacturer.

Separately, a third major formula maker told AP that in-house tests had detected trace levels of melamine in its infant formula.

The three firms—Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson—manufacture more than 90 percent of all infant formula produced in the United States.
However, the FDA stated that the melamine was a result of manufacturing, not added deliberately. Melamine can be used to artificially raise the detected protein level of something it is added to.

This makes sense, as the only intentional melamine contamination has come from China, and no U.S. approved baby formula is manufactured in China or uses Chinese ingredients.

Still, while the FDA says don't panic, it might be wise to err on the side of caution, at least until FDA tests of melamine on animals determines a safe exposure level.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Letterman: Top 10 Sarah Palin Excuses for Turkey Slaughter

I wrote earlier about Sarah Palin's most recent gaffe, regarding pardoning a turkey while turkeys were being slaughtered behind her. But, she did some good excuses, as outlined on Monday's Late Night with David Letterman.

10. I can see Russia but I can't see what's going on 5 feet behind me.
9. Not thinking straight after spending all night reading every newspaper and magazine.
8. Damn "gotcha" media got me again.
7. My Remington shotgun says I don't need an excuse.
6. Those were Al-Qaeda turkeys.
5. I thoght they were just torturing the little guy.
4. I mean, doggonit, you know, like, we need to lower taxes, and like, it all falls under job security, and we need to drill, you know?
3. Uh, stomach flu?
2. I'll get right back to ya! I'm still adorable, America.
1. Don't blame me, blame Joe the Turkey Slaughterer.

Watch the video:

video

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pistol-Packin' Mama Sues Sheriff Over Revoked Weapons Permit

This ought to produce tons of commentary. Meleanie Hain from Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit against a sheriff who revoked her concealed-weapons permit. Why? She wore a holstered pistol to her 5-year-old daughter's soccer game.

The lawsuit alleges that Lebanon County Sheriff Michael DeLeo violated her Second Amendment rights and prosecuted her maliciously when he took away her permit in September.

Hain challenged the revocation successfully in October, thought the judge questioned her judgment, carrying a weapon openly to a kid's soccer game. However, she says that her baby-sitting service has suffered (small wonder!), her children have been harassed, and she has been ostracized by her neighbors.

DeLeo said that he revoked her permit after numerous parents complained, basing his decision on a state law that prohibits concealed-weapons permits from being given to people whose character and reputation make them a danger to public safety.

Now, here's one interesting tidbit. While this is Pennsylvania, not Arizona, in Arizona a CWP means you conceal the weapon, not flaunt it openly. It means concealed, not in a holster. If she was a guy, some might say she was trying to make up for a small body part by wearing a gun to a soccer game.

And let's be honest, are there criminals she needs to be worried about at a soccer game? Oh, yeah, we've seen those photos of dad creaming refs they didn't agree with; that would have been great if the dads had a gun, right?

Finally, Second Amendment or no, I would hope we could agree there are a few places that a gun is inappropriate at. Say:
  • A school play
  • A playground
  • The courthouse
and on and on.

The lawsuit also contends that her husband Scott has lost his wife's "companionship, consortium, society and services" as a result of the harm she has suffered.

Wow, you're telling me that revoking a permit caused her to kick him "out of the bed?" Actually, one look at a good pic of her, and maybe it's not such a bad deal for him.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Even Brothels Feel the Economic Blues

Hopefully you don't need to be told how tough current economic times are. Even the worst's oldest profession is affected, in two polar opposite ways, as shown by the world famous brothel, the Mustang Ranch.

Nevada has legalized prostitution at these brothels, where the health of its "caregivers," and STD tests, are a focus. But the self-described world famous Mustang Ranch brothel is being hit by the recession in two ways.

First, increased job applications. As women become desperate, they turn to this option as a way to survive. As a recent ABC News story indicated, applications have surged.

In the ABC News story, a woman who had never worked as a prostitute before was accepted at the Mustang Ranch, despite nervousness. Call her Kimberly:
"I'm nervous, you know. I've got a little shake. I'm more nervous than I think I've ever been in my life."
But, paradoxically, while women try to make a living in brothels like the Mustang Ranch, while demand is still high, spending is down. Customers they have, but each time they come in, they spend less, as they have less disposable income.

Sharon Austin, Kimberly's new boss said:
"Well, recently, business has dropped off dramatically dollar-wise, a lot of men coming in, a lot of parties, but less money. They don't have as much to spend."
One has to wonder, if this is the way things are at a world-famous legal and safe brothel, what are they like on the street?

Watch the ABC News report:

video

Vatican Finally Forgives Lennon Over "Christ" Statement

John Lennon has finally been forgiven by the Vatican for a slip of the lip, which he made in 1966.

In 1966 Lennon told a London paper that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ. While thicker-skinned people might have shrugged it off as a boast by someone who only relatively recently became one of the most famous people in the world, the Vatican took offense.

No longer.

Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said:
"The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a 'boast' by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll.

The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians."
Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman in 1980.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sarah Palin Makes a Turkey of Herself

Isn't it enough that the President always "pardons" a turkey every year, meaning their life is spared --- forever --- now we have a governor doing it? Obviously Sarah Palin is trying to keep herself front and center in the news, but personally, this Sarah Palin Turkey Video will go down as at least as embarrassing as the Katie Couric interviews.

The event, as I said, was a turkey pardoning, but Palin was oblivious to the "action" behind her, in which a worker was "bleeding out" a turkey.

Honestly, it's not the fact that a worker behind Sarah Palin in the video is "bleeding out" a turkey. No, it's that she does not have the common sense to think about where to stand before being taped.

Possibly, the news crew asked her to stand there, but I would have looked behind me and said, "Nope, not a good place."

The footage was shot at a farm in Gov. Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. You can watch the turkey video below, if you dare.

video

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State Confirmed: Sources

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State? You've probably been watching what seems to be interminable amounts of jousting between the two camps, Obama's and Clinton's. No other appointment in Obama's administration has taken this long after to complete, after it became public.

Late Thursday night, two senior Obama aides told Politico.com that Obama is set to make the Secretary of State appointment official. The announcement will not be made until after Thanksgiving, however, and Hillary Clinton is expected to accept.

At the same time, if you need confirmation, AP has it.

Much of the problems around the vetting process for Hillary Clinton actually centered on Bill Clinton, and his foundation that operates in 27 countries.

According to both sources,
Former President Bill Clinton authorized unprecedented disclosures about his finances to Obama's vetting team, and transition lawyers are satisfied, officials said.
This gives Obama the "Team of Rivals" Cabinet he had promised. And rival she certainly was, if you recall the near war during the primaries. But this will certainly do more to unite the party than just about any other move.

Brain Tumor? Nope, a Worm

A woman went into surgery expecting to have a brain tumor removed, but what doctors found was something --- alive. Yes, rather than a brain tumor, doctors removed a worm from Rosemary Alvarez' brain.

A brain worm? Is that possible? Well, they do exist, and are apparently becoming more common. A CDC report in 2007 outlined affliction's crossing of the border, so to speak to wind up in South Texas. This report was from Arizona.

The brain worm is in fact the pork tapeworm. It can be spread by eating undercooked pork, but also by not washing properly after using the bathroom (I'm sure you can figure out where the eggs would be passed).

Neurosurgeon Peter Nakaji operated on the woman, and chuckled when he saw that it was just a worm, saying "I'm sure this is a very strange response for the people in the operating room. But because I was so pleased to know that it wasn't going to be something terrible."

This was the sixth such case Nakaji has seen in recent months, raising the specter of more common appearances of a horrific disease.

Watch a video report, from MyFoxPhoenix (includes shots of surgery):

video

Afghan Girl Swallows Battery, Fights for Life

Here's an interesting story from CNN about an Afghan girl whose life is threatened after swallowing a battery. It hasn't gotten much traction anywhere on the Web. Strange, as its definitely a human interest story, and one that any parent should take care to listen to.

Nazia is three-years-old, from Afghanistan. The young girl swallowed the battery in April after (foolishly) being given it to play with. Well, I will assume no one in the U.S. would do that.

Things in Afghanistan are not as in the U.S. No ERs, so by the time she was taken to American military doctors, her esophagus was so damaged she has had to have several operations. And in fact, she can't talk because of scarred vocal cords.

Col. Scott Jones says:
We've sent her home twice now. She's returned within a week to 10 days with severe pneumonia and very severe breathing problems. Her airway has narrowed so much, if you think about a Dole pencil, you look at the lead, the tip of a Dole pencil, that's is how small the opening is to her lungs. So you can imagine, you cannot breathe through that.
The massive scarring within her airway requires complex surgery. Cincinnati Children's Hospital is trying to help, and is raising funds for Nazia. Worst, however, according to the report, is that Nazia cannot survive the dusty climate in Afghanistan without that surgery.

It's possible you might be able to help, by contacting Cincinnati Children's Hospital and asking about a fund for the girl who "swallowed a battery." Let's hope she gets the help she needs.

Watch the video. I uploaded it myself, because CNN video's don't work well when embedded and viewed through Firefox. The original story can be found here.

video

Great American Smokeout 2008 Begins

November 20th begins the 32nd annual Great American Smokeout. While smoking is an addiction, and thus difficult or even near impossible to stop, there are many reasons to quit --- and I shouldn't have to tell you them.

Rather than boring you with health-related reasons to join the Great American Smokeout '08, let's not start with health. Let's start with the walls inside your house. Have you ever tried to clean the walls inside a heavy smoker's house? I have --- my mother's house. There is a layer of something ... nicotine or something there that is hard to get off. Now just imagine your lungs ...

Speaking of your lungs, we will talk about them now. Let's talk emphysema. A progressive lung disease that results in shortness of breath. No, it's not strictly smoking-related, meaning those who don't smoke can get it, but the incidence is waaaay higher with smokers. And, naturally, it's not just crippling, it can lead to death.

Check out the image of a bad lung to the left; click it to see a good lung.

Now the Great American Smokeout reason "C": Cancer? Do I really need to tell you about the horrors of cancer?

And finally, Great American Smoking reason "K" ... your kids. Remember those walls above? If you don't care about your lungs, how about your kids' lungs?

One good question: why are people still taking up the habit? You would think young people, bombarded with information, would eschew smoking. Apparently not.

According to the CDC, about 43.4 million U.S. adults still smoke. Considering the U.S. recently 300 million PEOPLE, not adults, in population, you can see that's a pretty high number.

It should be noted that other countries, such as Europe and Japan, smoke in far greater numbers than in the U.S.

For more information and help quitting, call 1-800-784-8669 or visit the 1-800-Quit-Now website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hugh Jackman Named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive

Australia's Hugh Jackman has taken this year's title as People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. The issue hits the newsstands on Friday.

While Hugh Jackman clocked in at #1, the #2 ranked man in the Sexiest Man Alive list was Daniel Craig, #3 was Jon Hamm, and #4 was Zac Efron.

Give me a break, Zac Efron? His biggest claim to fame, besides the High School Musical movies, is the nude pic by his girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens. That lands him in the Sexiest Man Alive list with Hugh Jackman?

Anyway, back to Hugh Jackman. According to Elizabeth Sporkin, executive editor at People:
"Hugh Jackman is the real package -- humble, romantic, drop-dead gorgeous and a star of the moment. He is so much more than his movies -- that's sexy."
While Jackman joins the ranks of Matt Damon (2007's pick), George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey, People Magazine says he is different than the rest. Sporkin added:
"Brad is unattainably sexy, George is brainy-suave, Matt is boy-next-door sexy, and Hugh's sex appeal is the fact that he is gritty, has a great accent, and is physical."
And before anyone gets any ideas, Jackman, 6'2" and 40 years old, is married to Deborra-Lee Furness, an actress. And they've been married for 20 years, and according to People, he still sings romantic ballads to her.

Deborra-Lee Furness is currently filming the the movie Blessed, while Jackman's latest film, Australia, debuts next week. Jackman is best known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men movies, and has won a Tony Award for his performance in "The Boy from Oz."

Watch the trailer for Australia below.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ashley Alexandra Dupre to Be Interviewed on 20/20

Don't know who Ashley Alexandra Dupre is? You haven't been paying attention.

Not only was she responsible for the downfall of Eliot Spitzer (OK, OK, lust was the real reason, but oh, well), Ashley Alexandra Dupre also sued "Girls Gone Wild" after they tried to sell footage of her they had previously taken (apparently, she had falsified her age, and naturally didn't want GGW to make a big payday off the video).

According to the AP, she's going to appear on 20/20 this Friday, interviewed by Diane Sawyer, to explain how an
"upper middle-class, girl next door got into the profession and the psychological journey she continues to experience."
Girl next door? Being on a GGW video seems to belie that statement.

At any rate, while Spitzer resigned as NY governor in March, prosecutors recently said they wouldn't bring criminal charges against him. Hey, he was pretty powerful in the Democratic party, and quite possibly an up-and-comer, and all that's gone.

Interested in the GGW footage? Here's some of it from earlier this year:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cops' Racial Slurs Against Obama Investigated

When will people learn that when you post something on the Internet, not just on MySpace or Facebook, but definitely there, you are opening yourself up for a whole world of hurt? Ah, yes, never.

A pair of Durham, North Carolina police officers are under investigation for racial slurs or other derogatory remarks made against President-elect Barack Obama made on their MySpace pages.

According to Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr.,
"There's no exact words that were said. It wasn't a racial slur, but we're still investigating it."
Before anyone chimes in about freedom of speech, there is a clause in the police department's code of conduct, under the heading "Private Life." It says that an officer's "character and conduct while off duty must always be exemplary, thus maintaining a position of respect in the community in which he or she lives and serves. The officer's personal behavior must be beyond reproach."

The local branch of the NAACP requested that the postings be made public. Durham's NAACP president Fred Foster Jr. said to a local newspaper:
"We want to know if there will be transparency about those comments to the community and what disciplinary action if any will be taken against these officers. We believe that if these comments are against people of color, then it will be hard for those officers to serve and protect without prejudice and that they should not be allowed to wear the uniform representing public trust."

City Manager Tom Bonfield was notified of the investigation late Tuesday afternoon, and asked Lopez to complete it quickly.

Lopez added:

"As a police officer, it doesn't matter where you do it, if you provide disservice to the organization, it violates the code of conduct. It is a high standard that officers are held accountable to."

Friday, November 14, 2008

The "Pregnant Man" is Pregnant Again

Thomas Beatie, the so-called "pregnant man," who gave birth to a girl on June 29th, is pregnant again.

Beatie, 34, underwent a sex-change operation 10 years ago, but but kept his ... her? ... female reproductive organs. And once again we can start calling him the "pregnant man," as he is his first trimester of a new pregnancy.

Beatie told the news to celebrity interviewer Walters for an episode of the ABC news program "20/20" that will air on Friday, Nov. 14. On Thursday's episode of "The View," Walters previewed the interview.

Beatie and his wife Nancy live in Bend, Oregon. He said the baby is due on June 12.

Beatie told Walters:
"I feel good. I had my checkups with my hormone level, as far as the hCG. And everything is right on track."
hCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone which is produced in women during pregnancy.

Before anyone asks, Beatie's wife, Nancy, 46, had a prior hysterectomy and thus is unable to carry a baby to term herself. Their prior baby, and this one were conceived via artificial insemination using donor sperm and Beatie's own egg.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cindy McCain Caught Cheating on John McCain

Look, it's politics. Even if there's an affair in a marriage in a political environment, in general, the couple stays married. Look at Bill and Hillary Clinton. Look at Eliot and Silda Spitzer. Still together. And now, John and Cindy McCain?

Of course, this is the National Enquirer, but honestly, they've gotten to be more "reliable" since losing that lawsuit to Carol Burnett oh-so-long ago.

In the picture above, Cindy McCain, 54, is pictured kissing another man. According to the Enquirer:
The wealthy blonde heiress and her secret pal have been spotted together around her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona over the past several years, say sources.

The amazing spy photos were snapped April 1, 2006 when Cindy and her companion attended the Tempe Music Festival says the person who took them. The photos are somewhat grainy, but the insider says they depict Senator John McCain's wife, who was greeted by pals at the event as "Cindy."
Tbe Enquirer also has statements from two witnesses:
"I couldn't believe I was watching Cindy McCain passionately kissing and hugging another man!"

"I couldn't believe it. I remember thinking, 'Go get a room!' They kissed and cuddled. While other concertgoers stood up to cheer and sing, Cindy and the guy remained entwined in their seats."
Hey, there's an 18-year age difference between Cindy and John McCain, as the Enquirer points out. Cindy is wealthy, as well, and the family owns a large number of homes between them, so that could be incentive for the two to stay together, at least publicly. Of course, that's certainly a grainy picture, but as I said the Enquirer has been much more "reliable" since their lawsuit loss.

Of course, Cindy had an affair with John while he was still married, so some would say once a cheater, always a cheater.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The "Guvernator" Gets Back into the Bedroom with GOP Loss

Arnold Schwarzenneger, governor of California, is a Republican in a blue state. He's also married to Maria Shriver, a member of the Kennedy clan (which translates, quite naturally, into her being a die-hard Democrat).

Schwarzenneger said “I can get back into the bedroom, so there's the big advantage,” Sunday on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Maria Shriver endorsed Barack Obama in February, just days after her husband announced his support of John McCain.

Schwarzenneger said there was a measure of gloating on Shriver's part, but he also said there was virtually no way an incumbent party could have won this election.
“I think no one knew that it's going to be that bad. I think the Republicans were trying to hold on to, you know, if it would have been just the housing crisis or the mortgage crisis. But then when the stock market crash came, I think it was just too much."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Truth About the Hypoallergenic First Dog

One of the defining questions for the Obama presidency is: what dog should he get for his daughters. As he said at his press conference today, it's been made more difficult by his daughter Malia's allergy to dogs. He needs a hypoallergenic dog.

Before you laugh, there is indeed such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog. While it doesn't mean there is no chance of an allergic reaction, it means there is less chance of such.

And yes, there was time spent at the Obama press conference on this. He expressed a desire to get a shelter dog (as it would be a mutt, like him --- his words!), but the need for a hypoallergenic dog presents quite a problem, as its more difficult, naturally, to figure out if a dog will produce an allergic reaction if you don't know its background.

So what to do? How can Obama get a hypoallergenic dog and still satisfy his preference for a shelter dog?

Well, rather than a shelter dog, perhaps Obama and his daughters should consider a rescue dog. There are many organizations that rescue dogs that are mistreated, misunderstood, or abandoned.

There is the labradoodle, a cross between a labrador retriever and a poodle, which is considered highly hypoallergenic. However, he'd likely have to go to a breeder for one of those and pay upwards of $2,000 as well.

Apparently Malia would like a goldendoodle, a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle, but once again it would be a $2,000 cost.

BTW, if you take a look at a goldendoodle, you might wonder, because it doesn't have short hair. Allergies to animals are not caused by hair, but by dander: the dead skin that flakes off.

So, it's going to be tough: he shouldn't pay $2,000 for a dog (I can hear the cries of elite already), but he's not going to necessarily find a hypoallergenic dog at a pound. And the list of possibilities will depend on who you ask. That's one problem. One list may say one thing and another something different.

Recommendation: look through the various lists available, look for the type of dog at a rescue organization, and then take Malia and see. As I said, hypoallergenic doesn't mean no chance of a reaction, just less.

Oh, and there's always a last resort: allergy shots.

That's a goldendoodle pictured, BTW.

Barney Shows Teeth Over Election Results

Obviously unhappy with the election results, President Bush's dog Barney showed Reuters television White House correspondent Jon Decker just how upset he was.

He "bit my right index finger this morning -- as I reached down to pet him," Decker said.

The bite broke skin so Decker will be getting a tetanus shot.

Besides the election results, Barney may be peeved at the news over the incoming dog-election: on election night, President-elect Barack Obama promised his daughters a puppy.

Watch video:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Top 10 New Revelations About Sarah Palin

Thursday night on The Late Show with David Letterman, he presented the latest top 10 list of revelations about Sarah Palin. There was an earlier such list (more on that later). The new list is:
  1. Thinks Fox News may still declare her and John McCain the winner
  2. At her wedding instead of "I do," said, "You betcha!"
  3. She and Governor Schwarzenegger once exchanged swimsuit-competition posing tips
  4. Prepared for campaign by watching "Legally Blonde 2"
  5. Thinks "NAFTA" stands for "Need Another Fifty Thousand for Accessories"
  6. Begins every day by reading a passage from the hilarious Late Show Fun Facts book available everywhere
  7. She's a person of interest in five unsolved snow machine hit-and-runs
  8. Abused position as Governor to get free appetizers at Ancorage Applebee's
  9. Already has a new job as Briefcase Babe #12 on "Deal Or No Deal"
  10. Her Secret Service code name was "Huh?"
On Sept. 25th, the top ten list was: Top Ten Surprising Facts About Sarah Palin presented by residents of Wasilla, Alaska:
  1. Sometimes Sarah calls John McCain "grandpa" -Interior Designer, May-Lynn Pauling
  2. She stole that sexy librarian look from me -Grasshopper Aviation Pilot, Dave Glenn
  3. Recently passed legislation to build a bridge to Funkytown -General Manager of a Mexican Restaurant, Jerry Ochoa
  4. Recently passed legislation to build a bridge to Funkytown -General Manager of a Mexican Restaurant, Jerry Ochoa
  5. Favorite meal: moose nuggets and beaver jerky -Private Music Teacher, Ana Hartman
  6. Working on "Knight Rider" spin-off about a talking snowmobile -Virtual Golf-Shooting Range Owner, Calvin Culverwell
  7. Favorite book? "Late Show Fun Facts" -- available at fine stores everywhere -Flight Paramedic, Steven Heyano
  8. Once spent a week in the hospital after attempting to put lipstick on a pit bull -Dental Hygenist, Kathy McCone
  9. To improve her foreign policy experience, she recently went to the International House of Pancakes -Deputy Mayor and Chiropractor, Kris Larson
  10. Only person I know who's not afraid to go hunting with Dick Cheney -From the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce, Lyn Carden
Watch the video:

video


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bush S.F. Sewer Plant Renaming Plans Flushed

Oh, well, it was a nice attempt. I wrote earlier about Proposition R in San Francisco, which would have renamed the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to be the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

Supporters had said it would have been an appropriate memorial to a one of the worst presidents in history. However, the San Francisco Chronicle said the proposal has been called unfair by some critics ... to the sewer plant, not to Bush.

While Bush himself made no official statement regarding this proposal, in July, when this measure was first proposed, Dana Perino said, when asked about it:
I just don't think it dignifies a response.
More than 69% voted against the idea.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Wins "First Place to Vote"

Everyone wants exit polls results in the 2008 Presidential election, and the earlier the better. Well, Dixville Notch, NH, is traditionally the first (or one of) the first place to report results in every election and every primary. And the votes are in ...

Exit poll 2008 from Dixville Notch, NH: Obama wins 15 - 6. Yes, Dixville Notch is not exactly a megalopolis, but it continues the tradition, first started in 1960, til this day.

It should be noted that voting results from 2004 were decidedly different: Bush beat Kerry 19 - 7, and Dixville Notch has not voted for a Democrat since 1968!

At the same time, voting results are also in from neighboring Hart's Location, which reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul.

Yep, in 2008, who cares about exit polls when you have the actual results, right? Don't expect voting to go as smoothly, or without long lines, in the rest of the country.

Dixville Notch has a well organized voting process: all the eligible voters gather at midnight in the ballroom of The Balsams. Voters cast their ballots and the polls officially close one minute later.

Vote fast, or voting results won't include you, it seems.

Hart's Location halted its "competition" for the first vote in the 1964, but again started up early voting in 1996. It actually has an earlier tradition than Dixville Notch, beginning in 1948, but with the 1964 halt, Dixville Notch gets the majority of news nowadays, regarding early voting results.

So, exit poll 2008 (or rather voting results 2008) from the two earliest "townships" show Obama in the lead. More to come, obviously, as the battleground states weigh in.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Shirley Nagel: "No Treats for You If You or Your Parents Support Obama"

If it was Christmas, Shirley Nagel of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan would be the Grinch. Nagel was only giving out treats on Halloween to kids who supported her choice for President: John McCain.

A sign posted outside Nagel's house read: "No handouts for Obama supporters, liars, tricksters or kids of supporters."

I hate to say this, Ms. Nagel, but most kids of trick-or-treating age don't care that much about politics. And, they also don't have a choice about who their parents support. What you're being is a person that, when I was a kid, would have ended up with her house egged or TPed. Not that I'm encouraging that.

Nagel told a Fox 2 reporter that "Obama's scary." When asked about children who'd been turned away empty-handed and crying, she said: "Oh well. Everybody has a choice."

Actually, they don't. As I said above, kids don't have a choice who their parents support.

Readers, you have a choice as well. Her information is here. Or, if you'd rather not click through, it's 465 Belanger St, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, (313) 884-2598. I'm sure she'd appreciate a phone call at 3 AM or so. Not that I'm encouraging that.

Watch a video story with her comments:

Palin Prank Call: Clueless, N'est-ce Pas?

Call it the Canadian version of Punk'd. The Masked Avengers are a Quebec comedy duo who have a history of prank calling celebrities and political figures. But a Palin prank call? When you listen to it, it makes you wonder how clueless she is.

The Palin prank call was the masterpiece of S├ębastien Trudel and Marc-Antoine Audette, who are, as I said, the Masked Avengers. Sapah Palin is in good company in terms of victims, with Queen Elizabeth, Gilles Duceppe, rock stars Bono and Mick Jagger, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve, and Donald Trump.

The transcript of the Palin prank call follows, along with a few notes. A = The Masked Avengers, P = Palin.

Despite the fact that the French accent is decent, it should be noted that several times during the Palin prank call, there are clues that a sharper person would have picked up on.
A: Just hold on for President Sarkozy, one moment.

P: Oh, it's not him yet, they're saying. I always do that.

A: Yes, hello, Gov. Palin.

P: Hello, this is Sarah, how are you?

A: Fine, and you? This is Nicolas Sarkozy speaking, how are you?

P: Oh, it's so good to hear you. Thank you for calling us.

A: Oh, it's a pleasure.

P: Thank you sir, we have such great respect for you, John McCain and I. We love you and thank you for taking a few minutes to talk to me.

A: I follow your campaigns closely with my special American adviser Johnny Hallyday, you know?

P: Yes, good. Obviously clueless about Hallyday, who is actually a French actor / singer.

A: Excellent. Are you confident?

P: Very confident and we're thankful that polls are showing that the race is tightening and...

A: Well I know very well that the campaign can be exhausting. How do you feel right now, my dear?

P: I feel so good. I feel like we're in a marathon and at the very end of the marathon you get your second wind and you plow to the finish.

A: You see, I got elected in France because I'm real and you seem to be someone who's real, as well.

P: Yes, yeah. Nico, we so appreciate this opportunity.

A: You know I see you as a president one day, too.

P: Maybe in eight years.

A: Well, I hope for you. You know, we have a lot in common because personally one of my favorite activities is to hunt, too.

P: Oh, very good. We should go hunting together.

A: Exactly, we could try go hunting by helicopter like you did. I never did that. Like we say in French, on pourrait tuer des bebe phoques, aussi (that means, approx., could kill baby seals, also)

P: Well, I think we could have a lot of fun together while we're getting work done. We can kill two birds with one stone that way.

A: I just love killing those animals. Mmm, mmm, take away life, that is so fun. I'd really love to go, so long as we don't bring along Vice-President Cheney. (That comment about taking away life should have been a big clue).

P: No, I'll be a careful shot, yes.

A: Yes, you know we have a lot in common also, because except from my house I can see Belgium. That's kind of less interesting than you.

P: Well, see, we're right next door to different countries that we all need to be working with, yes.

A: Some people said in the last days and I thought that was mean that you weren't experienced enough in foreign relations and you know that's completely false. That's the thing that I said to my great friend, the prime minister of Canada Stef Carse.

P: Well, he's doing fine, too, and yeah, when you come into a position underestimated it gives you an opportunity to prove the pundits and the critics wrong. You work that much harder.

A: I was wondering because you are so next to him, one of my good friends, the prime minister of Quebec, Mr. Richard Z. Sirois, have you met him recently? Did he come to one of your rallies? (Besides the fact Sirois is a Canadian comedian, there is a Canadian, not Quebec PM)

P: I haven't seen him at one of the rallies but it's been great working with the Canadian officials. I know as governor we have a great co-operative effort there as we work on all of our resource-development projects. You know, I look forward to working with you and getting to meet you personally and your beautiful wife. Oh my goodness, you've added a lot of energy to your country with that beautiful family of yours.

A: Thank you very much. You know my wife Carla would love to meet you, even though you know she was a bit jealous that I was supposed to speak to you today.

P: Well, give her a big hug for me.

A: You know my wife is a popular singer and a former top model and she's so hot in bed. She even wrote a song for you. (Like Sarkozy would tell Palin how hot his wife is).

P: Oh my goodness, I didn't know that.

A: Yes, in French it's called de rouge a levre sur un cochon, or if you prefer in English, Joe the Plumber...it's his life, Joe the Plumber. (In English it actually means lipstick on a pig.)

P: Maybe she understands some of the unfair criticism but I bet you she is such a hard worker, too, and she realizes you just plow through that criticism.

A: I just want to be sure. That phenomenon Joe the Plumber. That's not your husband, right?

P: That's not my husband but he's a normal American who just works hard and doesn't want government to take his money. (Except that Joe the Plumber would do better under Obama's plan than under McCain's plan. Oh, and let's not forget his unpaid taxes.)

A: Yes, yes, I understand we have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France. It's called Marcel, the guy with bread under his armpit. (Oh, come on, she didn't catch on yet?)

P: Right, that's what it's all about, the middle class and government needing to work for them. You're a very good example for us here.

A: I see a bit about NBC, even Fox News wasn't an ally as much as usual.

P: Yeah, that's what we're up against.

A: Gov. Palin, I love the documentary they made on your life. You know Hustler's Nailin' Palin?

P: Ohh, good, thank you, yes. (Clearly missed that one.)

A: That was really edgy.

P: Well, good.

A: I really loved you and I must say something also, governor, you've been pranked by the Masked Avengers. We are two comedians from Montreal.

P: Ohhh, have we been pranked? And what radio station is this?

A: CKOI in Montreal.

P: In Montreal? Tell me the radio station call letters.

A: CK...hello?
Ah, well. Ces't la vie.



12-Year-Old Shot to Death While Trick-or-Treating

Both sides can argue over gun rights as much as they want, but it should be clear: some people just shouldn't be allowed to own guns, like this person, Quentin Patrick, 22, from Sumter, South Carolina.

At the very least you should ask, "What has this country become?"

Tony "T.J." Darrisaw and his 9-year-old brother Ahmadre and father Freddie Grinnell, were walking up to the porch of the house at about 8:30 PM local time. There was no activity that should have provoked attack; simply a family outing. While father and sons went to the door, the mother waited in the car.

According to police, Patrick, a convicted felon with numerous drug convictions, feared a robbery and fired nearly 30 rounds with an AK-47 assault rifle from inside a house.

The shots came from inside the house, without warning. While the 12-year-old later died at a hospital, his father and brother were wounded.

Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson said:
"The investigation is continuing into what has been a very tragic evening. Our sorrow and sympathy goes out to this family."
Patrick was charged with murder and two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill. Besides the AK-47, police found a 9 mm handgun in the house as well.

Patrick's girlfriend, Ericka Patrice Pee, 19, is being charged with obstruction of justice.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shockingly, The Ultimate Conservative in His Own Mind, Stephen Colbert, Endorses Obama

The ultimate conservative, at least in his own mind, has decided to join the growing ranks of Republicans endorsing Barack Obama. Yes, I'm talking about Stephen Colbert. As he reluctantly said:
Nation, I have been seeing a disturbing trend in this election. Prominent conservatives and Republicans have been endorsing Senator Barack Obama. This weekend, former Mass. governor William Weld threw his hat into the "Hope" ring. Jimmy?

Weld: He obviously possesses keen intelligence, he has demonstrated excellent judgment, and he has first class political temperament.

For the record, McCain also has a first class temperament, it just happens to be the temperament of a rabid badger in first class. You do not want to be late with his warm nuts.

But Weld's just the tip of the iceberg, folks. And not just because 90% of Republicans are spending this election hiding under water. Other once proud and reliable Republicans are coming out for Obama, including Susan Eisenhower, Colin Powell, former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan, and former Rumsfeld advisor Ken Adelman. Not to mention yesterday's shocking endorsement by lifelong Republican Yosemite Sam, who said of Obama:

"Consarnit! This lily-livered rackin' frackin' varmint would restore America's image in the world stage. Ka-blam. Pow."

That is a surprising endorsement, considering how bitterly he clings to his guns.

Nation, I have no choice but to respond to my fellow prominent conservatives who have the gall to endorse Barack Obama. Which brings me to tonight's Word: I Endorse Barack Obama.
Watch the shocking video: